6 simple ways to get your family to waste less food

It is possible to streamline your food shop and weekly meals so you’re wasting as little as possible. Here’s how…

We all hate wasting food, as it seems like throwing money down the drain. But with young kids and their habit of loving something one day and hating it the next, there are often leftovers at the end of a meal.

To help, we’ve rounded up some of the best family-friendly ways to stop wasting food. Even better, it saves money, and you might discover new meals you all love.

1. Use those leftovers

Leftovers from your family’s favourite meals can be reused up to four days after you’ve properly stored them in the fridge. Placing them in clear glass or plastic containers means you can immediately see what’s in there, so there’s a better chance of them being eaten. Add a date sticker as a reminder. And don’t forget the freezer, which can extend the life of your leftovers for far longer.

2. Re-purpose your peelings

Freeze fresh veg if you have too much to get through – simply blanche or purée it in batches, then cool before freezing in sealable sandwich bags.

Some peelings and veggie ends are full of goodness and flavour – carrots, spring onions, celery leaves and onion skins – so keep them in a bag in the freezer until there’s enough to make a healthy stock. Use it for a hearty vegetable soup, adding leftover rice and pasta to bulk it out. And the peelings you can’t use? Get the kids to pop them the compost bin to help keep your garden thriving.

3. Don’t chuck that bread

We all end up throwing away the ‘ends’ of loaves as they often go stale quickly. To be less wasteful, blitz leftover bread in the food-mixer to make breadcrumbs, then freeze them in a sealable sandwich bag so they’re on hand when needed for making hamburgers, turkey burgers, breading chicken breasts or fish fillets.

Alternatively, cut those slices of bread into cubes, get the kids to pop them on a baking tray, then drizzle with olive oil and season. Bake the bread cubes for 6-10 minutes at 200°C. Now you have some yummy croutons to top that veggie soup you made.

4. Do regular fridge rotations

Before every food shop, throw spoiled produce in your food or composting bin, and give your fridge a good clean, wiping up spills and sticky spots with Fairy Power Spray, which is perfect for tough cleaning jobs. Now move older foods that are still in date to the front, ensuring they don’t get wasted once you add fresher produce.

5. Create smoothies

If you regularly buy strawberries, bananas and raspberries to encourage the kids to eat more fruit, only to find they’ve gone bad within what seems like seconds, try a different plan of action.

Chop up the fruit and separate it into portions in bags and freeze. Then you’re ready to just throw it in the blender with milk, water or juice, and maybe some nutritious nut butter, and you have a delicious smoothie – and no waste!

6. Smart fruit and veg storage

Knowing the best way to store different food types will save you lots of waste and money in the long run. Bananas should be separated, not kept in a bunch, so they don’t go brown as quickly. When you open a bag of apples, berries, potatoes or onions have a quick look to ensure none are rotten, as just one can make the whole lot bad if left in there. And don’t mix fruit and veg in the fridge as they can ‘spoil’ each other.

Any fruit that looks past its best can be puréed or used in smoothies so the goodness doesn’t get wasted. For more handy tips like this, check out 5 ways to save money in the kitchen.

We’d love to hear your tips for preventing food waste. Share your insights in the comment section below…